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From Bruce Lee to Blobbyland – a guide to London Gallery Weekend

19 May 2023

Now in its third year, London Gallery Weekend (2–4 June) has rapidly grown to become the largest gallery-led event of its kind in the world, with more than 125 exhibitors from across the capital staging exhibitions and performances. Apollo’s editors pick out the ones they’re most looking forward to.

Jane Dickson: Fist of Fury
Alison Jacques
Until 1 July

Dubbed the ‘painter of American darkness’ by her friend Nan Goldin, Jane Dickson has long documented the underbelly of New York. Here, she presents a series of paintings that reinterpret photographs of Times Square at night in the 1970s and ’80s. The exhibition takes its name from a Bruce Lee film that appears on a marquee in one of these shots, hinting at the potential for violence in a world where figures melt into the shadows and a fluorescent haze hangs over the streets.

photograph of a woman looking in the mirror

Sorrow had a baby (2021), Myrid Carten. Courtesy the artist and mother’s tankstation Dublin | London.

Myrid Carten: Preta (Hungry Ghost)
Mother’s Tankstation
Until 4 July

Blustery, damp shots of a derelict home in the Donegal wilds, Christian iconography and shaky home movie footage are overlaid with fragments of conversation in this triptych by the Irish filmmaker. Shifting between fiction and documentary, Carten creates tender, fraught portraits of familial relationships and home.

something(s) more permanent (2022), Narumi Nekpenekpen. Photo: Theo Christelis; courtesy the artist and Soft Opening, London

Narumi Nekpenekpen
2 June–29 July
Soft Opening

There’s something of the kid’s collectible about Narumi Nekpenekpen’s porcelain figures, with their Powerpuff-girl eyes and their chunky Doc Martens – but fashioned from raw bisque clay, hand-painted and glazed with sgraffitto markings, these sculptures are about as far from mass-production as you can get. Born in 1998 to a Japanese mother and Nigerian father, Nekpenekpen grew up in both Los Angeles and Kashiwa. The influence of artistic traditions from three continents is clear – but her little porcelains, whom she calls her ‘bb’s’, are also compellingly idiosyncratic.

Give & Take (2021), Lisa-Marie Harris. Photo: courtesy Cooke Latham Gallery

Lisa-Marie Harris: Responses (To things I’ve been told about my body)
Cooke Latham Gallery
2–30 June

The first solo exhibition of Lisa-Marie Harris’s work in the United Kingdom examines the ways that women’s bodies are monitored, commodified and shamed. With a collection of tactile sculptures, wall-mounted reliefs and films, Harris reflects on her personal experiences of objectification both as a child in Trinidad and as a mother in London. On 3 June at 11am, she presents her performance work Cover Yourself in which she interacts with the works on display, accompanied by a soundtrack of calypso, soca and an audio narrative.

Matter as Actor
Until 24 June
Lisson Gallery

Anyone who tries to write (or, for that matter, talk) about visual art comes up against its innate thingliness – its existence as matter, and its reluctance as such to be translated into words. This show at Lisson tackles this quality head on, bringing together artists as varied as Richard Long, Otobong Nkanga and Yelena Popova to consider the ways in which clay, rock, pigment, plastic and other substances are made eloquent in the hands of artists.

painting of a bold woman running her fingers through her hair

The unseen comprises the seen (2021), Joseph Yaeger. Photo: courtesy Project Native Informant

PNI @ 10
31 May–8 July
Projective Native Informant

Project Native Informant was founded in Bethnal Green in 2013, with the aim of providing a new home in East London for its tight-knit stable of 16 artists, all of whom are interested in pursuing forms of making that lie beyond the usual boundaries of galleries and museums. To celebrate its 10-year anniversary, the gallery is bringing together some of the big-hitters of its roster – including Sophia Al-Maria, Hal Fischer and Sean Steadman – for what promises to be an exhibition that is demanding and rewarding in equal measure.

Walking back to happiness (2023), Maisie Cousins. Photo: courtesy the artist and TJ Boulting.

Maisie Cousins: Walking back to happiness
TJ Boulting
Until 17 June

Maisie Cousins’ larger-than-life photographs of the trappings of childhood – plastic toys, chips and ketchup, crisp packets, ice cream on a pink shag pile – are at once comforting and uncanny. These recent works were produced at her home in the seaside town of St Leonards; they evoke a strong sense of nostalgia. She has also created a series of images using AI (of the hundreds generated, 19 are on show) in an attempt to retrieve memories of visiting her favourite theme park, Blobbyland, with her late grandfather.

London Gallery Weekend is at various venues, London, from 2–4 June.